Edutech platform with cartoons teaching the Malaysian curriculum
[Written in partnership with Supernewsroom, but the editorial team had full control over the content.]
Not so long ago, we wrote about the founding story of the educational children’s cartoon, Didi & Friends. The show originated when its creator discovered the effectiveness of educational content when delivered through cartoons. If done right, content can be engaging, fun, and beneficial, especially for young children.
GuruPanda, a Malaysian educational site for children aged 4 to 15, shares a similar belief. Instead of having teachers running live or pre-recorded lessons, GuruPanda chooses to teach the Malaysian curriculum through cartoon videos and quizzes.
Just under 11 months after launching in January 2021, GuruPanda concluded its first round of crowdfunding via pitchIN on November 15, 2021. There, the platform managed to attract investments totaling RM500,000.
A lack of friendliness
Kingsley Ting is the founder of GuruPanda. Graduated from a London institution with a Master of Science in Risk Management and Financial Engineering, he then worked in Shanghai for 7 years, even creating a startup there.
In 2017, Kingsley returned to Malaysia to take charge of his family business, Big Apple Taska & Tadika, growing the business from 5 centers in 2017 to 30 branches today. And then he moved into the edutech space.
When GuruPanda was launched, many other e-learning platforms had already mushroomed, and more are on the way. But Kingsley has always seen a gap in the online learning market, especially in interfaces to other platforms, which he said were not user-friendly enough.
And we had a hard time disagreeing with Kingsley. We wrote about a handful of edutech sites in the last year, and on several occasions we couldn’t help but comment on their disorganized interfaces in our articles.
On the other hand, GuruPanda’s website is quite easy to navigate, where you will find the various programs it offers neatly categorized on its home page. This is important because those who use the site are either parents or their children who may not be so tech-savvy.
The platform’s learning programs are currently divided into 2 categories:
- Content in English and Malay for ages 4-7;
- Content in Mandarin based on the SJKC curriculum for science, math, history, and Mandarin for ages 10-15.
Stay focused on the main subjects
GuruPanda operates on a subscription basis, costing RM130 to RM220 per year, depending on the age and program chosen for the child.
As mentioned earlier, the content is delivered via cartoon videos, which GuruPanda allows its subscribers to download, as well as ratings and quizzes.
“We offer a more holistic approach with 7-8 subjects including language and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) courses,” Kingsley told Vulcan Post. “[There’s also] arts and crafts, tales and even songs with different themes like wizards, fairies, trips to Malaysia, etc.
Looking at the site, it can be said that GuruPanda is still quite rudimentary for an edutech site compared to others in the market. But this takes into account that all videos and quizzes are animated and therefore also require a storyline, which takes time to imagine and execute.
Kingsley also believes that GuruPanda stands out because the team comes from backgrounds involved in the front lines of education, such as the preschool industries and tuition centers.
“As a result, we have a better understanding of how to deliver better content as a frontline. The content we create is more suited to our current students, ”he explained.
Gamified quizzes for effective learning
Now with funding of RM500,000, GuruPanda plans to grow by creating its own app. It will launch with a new user interface and additional features to encourage greater participation from its existing subscribers, while attracting a larger following.
One of its planned functions will be to increase the gamification and animation elements of the programs.
“Currently, students take tests and quizzes and play games in the learning process, collecting badges as a reward. The new interface will be more interactive and we anticipate that students will be able to redeem these badges for physical prizes such as laptops and cellphones as well as avatars and cartoon characters in the program, ”Kingsley imagined.
This addition aims to make teaching even more interactive and therefore engaging for students of the platform.
The team also hopes to integrate AI and Big Data on the GuruPanda platform. The AI learning algorithms it will use are intended to understand how users learn, uncover their strengths and weaknesses, and provide them with appropriate content and teaching styles.
“But it takes more funding and a bigger team to make it work,” Kingsley added.
GuruPanda is only available in Malaysia at the moment, with a subscriber base of around 6,000 users. Once its app launches, GuruPanda hopes to triple its subscribers, including tapping into the Malaysian market to expand student access to affordable and quality online learning options.
Prior to that, the company plans to enter the regional market with a Mandarin language program, taught in Thai next year. Expansion plans in Indonesia and Vietnam are also in preparation.
“Our aim is to make GuruPanda a household name, both in Malaysia and in the countries of the sea, synonymous with fun, accessible and effective learning,” Kingsley said.
To achieve this, the company will then launch a new round of investments in its upcoming crowdfunding initiative, seeking out partners and investors who share the same mindset of expanding e-learning facilities.
- Learn more about GuruPanda here.
- Read more edutech related content here.
Image Credit Featured: Kingsley Ting, Founder of GuruPanda